Transportation Secretary Urges Automakers to Reassure Public on Autonomous Vehicles

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Elaine Chao

Feb. 27, 2017—After reviewing self-driving vehicle guidance issued by the Obama administration, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao urged companies to explain the benefits of automated vehicles to a "skeptical public."

The guidelines, issued in September, call on automakers to voluntarily submit details of self-driving vehicle systems to regulators in a 15-point “safety assessment” and urge states to defer to the federal government on most vehicle regulations.

Automakers have raised numerous concerns about the guidance, reports Reuters, including that it requires them to turn over significant data, could delay testing by months and lead to states making the voluntary guidelines mandatory. In November, major automakers urged the then-incoming Trump administration to re-evaluate the guidelines and some have called for significant changes. Automakers called on Congress earlier this month to make legislative changes to speed self-driving cars to U.S. roads.

Chao said she was "very concerned" about the potential impact of automated vehicles on employment. There are 3.5 million U.S. truck drivers alone and millions of others employed in driving-related occupations.

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